Lusso Leaf differs from your usual indoor microgreen farm. In fact, it’s an excellent model of how using the Internet of Things (IoT) can help tackle the energy crisis as a small indoor farming business.
With a focus on delivering fresh, local, nutritionally dense, and delicious produce Lusso Leaf was launched in 2020 by Richard and Sarah Kennedy. Two years on, it now grows over 45 varieties of microgreens and delivers to roughly 20 hospitality businesses across the area. Restaurants that include the Michelin-starred Latymer and the Michelin Guide-featured Kyoto Kitchen.
In this article, we follow how Lusso Leaf’s journey combined a career in IT and a passion for gardening to create a thriving business that, with the help of Kroptek, tackled some of the biggest challenges of setting up an indoor farm.
From IT to IoT
After a 30-year career in the city working with leading-edge tech start-ups, growing microgreens initially served as stress relief. But after leaving London, Richard and Sarah saw an opportunity in combining their expertise in technology and their love of growing by setting up an indoor farm.
Not satisfied with manually operating their farm, however, they went one step further, developing their own bespoke operating system using IoT to automate as many of the processes as possible. The IoT, or the Internet of Things, is a collective network of technology, devices, and the cloud that allows multiple devices, such as lights or sensors, to be controlled from a single interface.
Normally reserved for technology companies and larger farms, horticultural operating systems use the IoT to control indoor growing processes by measuring the conditions of a farm and responding in real time. A far cry from the large companies that these operating systems are typically used for, this is an example of homegrown digital innovation.
Richard designed, installed, and set up the computer program and devices himself. Now the operating system allows everything from temperature, light levels, and Ph levels to humidity to be monitored and responded to in real-time, either remotely on his phone or using voice control in the room itself.
Crucially, using an automated system also helped Lusso Leaf address the high energy costs associated with growing indoors…
Tackling the energy problem with Kroptek
LED lighting solutions are the most energy and cost-efficient options for indoor farms. But LEDs’ value as an energy-efficient and cost-effective choice isn’t limited to their in-built performance. When used as part of a smart farming system such as Lusso Leaf’s, LEDs like Kroptek’s LED Tube Series offer the ability to provide further cost-saving measures.
One of the most obstructive costs of indoor farming is the cost incurred by needing to cool down the growing environment using HVAC systems. However, using LEDs like Kroptek’s, their lower wattage and passive cooling technology means less heat. This enables growers to eliminate the sky-high energy costs of cooling LEDs that run at higher temperatures.
“From our tests with various providers, Kroptek had the best all round performance when considering price, wattage, heat generation and crop quality”. – Richard Kennedy, Lusso Leaf
Additionally, as Kroptek’s LEDs can be dimmable, when used in conjunction with a smart farming system you can respond rapidly to a plant’s needs by dimming the light levels as per a plant’s needs. Meaning you can provide the ideal environment for your crops whilst not spending unnecessarily by keeping lights on throughout the day at the same intensity.
Lusso Leaf has been able to address the energy challenge impressively, combining swift and responsive control of their technology with other measures such as running lights at night on a lower energy tariff.
On to the next challenge…
After tackling the difficulties of setting up a business during a pandemic and the steep learning curve of setting up a high-end operating system, Richard and Sarah remain undeterred.
Next year, Lusso Leaf is looking to double its growing capacity, broaden its portfolio into more varieties of fresh produce, such as soft fruits, and further explore the possibilities of energy and cost savings automation can offer.
If you’re interested in how Kroptek can take your indoor farm to the next level, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts today…